Creative (un)makings: disruptions in art/archaeology

March 6 – September 6, 2020

Seen from the standard perspective of traditional academic and cultural subjects, art and archaeology have comfortable relationships: collaboration, co-inspiration, shared aims to advance knowledge of human behavior and thought. Art/archaeology, a new transdisciplinary practice has fractured that perspective, and the exhibition Creative (un)making brings that disruption to the museum world for the first time. Art/archaeology argues that writing and thinking about the past should move beyond existing boundaries of both disciplines, and that creative work should replace written texts and lectures. Art/archaeology opens a new space where creative work, thought, and debate expand in unexpected directions, and where we find innovative potentials for objects from the past.

Creative (un)makings: disruptions in art/archaeology presents this new approach to the past in three provocative installations. The first (Releasing the Archive) presents photographs and videos in order to turn upside down the standard values that museums and institutional collections use to preserve historic objects and images. The second installation (Beyond Reconstruction) displays an array of ceramic fragments that resulted from the construction/deconstruction of a figure; in addition it includes documentary photographs of the works, highlights the limits of the archaeological reconstruction, and opens a new creative space beyond. The third installation (Ineligible) takes artefacts from an excavation in San Francisco and uses them as raw materials in order to make new artistic work that stimulates museum viewers’ thoughts about modern political and social issues, such as homelessness and income inequality.


Releasing the Archive

In Releasing the Archive Doug Bailey violates the normal rules that museums, universities, and cultural institutions must obey when they preserve and protect objects and images. The installation is a record of Bailey’s destruction of more than a thousand 35-transparencies that had been held in an anthropological collection at the university where he works. That original archive included transparencies from professors’ ethically questionable studies of ethnicity, sexuality, animal dissection, and human reproduction. Bailey believes that each person captured in the images is alive, but trapped in his institution’s archive and in the transparencies themselves. In reaction against both the original questionable work and the internment of the people in the images, Bailey soaked the slides in diluted sodium oxychloride. The result was the chemical liberation of the people from their imprisonment, as well as the creation of eerily powerful images. The photographs in the installation show transparencies before and after the release of the trapped people; the videos record the moments of those liberations. The imagery is stunning: both aesthetically beautiful and a violation of curators’ standards of care.



Álvaro Moreira

International Museum of Contemporary Sculpture


Beyond Reconstruction

In Beyond Reconstruction, Sara Navarro started with an anthropomorphic figurine from the Neolithic period of Eastern Europe, and removed it from its archaeological context. In this work, Navarro is not interested in the scientific literature about the artefact. Instead, her intention was to observe the figure, taking account of its latent features: shape, scale and material. Keeping shape and material (clay) unchanged, she undertook a super enlargement of the figurine, thus changing the scale of the object radically. In the second stage of work, she subjected the enlarged object to a process of deconstruction: breaking down the figure into many fragments by cutting the object in an extended series of cuts. The installation includes the photographic record of these processes, as well as the set of clay fragments that resulted from it. Beyond Reconstruction questions our commonly held assumptions about the processes of construction and of deconstruction, as well as the impossibility of reconstruction.



Álvaro Moreira

International Museum of Contemporary Sculpture



From 2010-2012, archaeologists in San Francisco excavated a city-center site in advance of the construction of a major new bus and subway station. The excavation recovered many thousands of artefacts. While a standard set of analyses and interpretation resulted from the project, art/archaeologist Doug Bailey gained control of a large number of the archaeological remains and designed a project to test the collaborative limits of artists and archaeologists. Working with Lisbon-based sculptor, Sara Navarro, Bailey sent assemblages of the artefacts to artists, archaeologists, and other creators. Accompanying the artefacts was the request for people to make new creative work, to use the artefacts not as historical objects, but as if they were raw materials (like pigment or clay), and to repurpose the materials to make artwork that would stimulate visitor questions and thought about a political or social issue of contemporary society. For people working in San Francisco, that issue might be homelessness or income disparity; for people working elsewhere, different local, regional, or national issues might be more relevant (such as immigration, or refugee status). Ineligible is a selection of the result of the works that were made.



Doug Bailey, Sara Navarro



Thomas Andersson, Doug Bailey, Jéssica Burrinha, Simon Callery, João Castro Silva, Shaun Caton, Rui Gomes Coelho, Jim Cogswell, Tiago Costa and Daniel Freire Santos, Ilana Crispi, Patrik Elgström and Jenny Magnusson, Dov Ganchrow, Stefan Gant, Cornelius Holtorf with Martin Kunze, Alfredo González-Ruibal and Álvaro Minguito Palomares, Cheryl E. Leonard, Nicola Lidstone, Marko Marila and Tony Sikström, Alison McNulty, Daniel V. Melim, Colleen Morgan, Sara Navarro, Jana Sophia Nolle, Laurent Olivier, Luisa da Rocha, Filomena Rodrigues, Suvi Tuominen, Ruth M. Van Dyke, Valter Ventura, Vanessa Woods


Photograph credit

Shelter No. 365, Jana Sophia Nolle, 2019


Creative (un)makings: disruptions in art/archaeology

International Conference | Conferência Internacional

March 7, 2020 | 7 de março 2020

International Museum of Contemporary Sculpture | Museu Internacional de Escultura Contemporânea

Organization | Organização

CMST | Museu Internacional de Escultura Contemporânea

Scientific Coordination | Coordenação Cientifica

Doug Bailey

Sara Navarro


Program | Programa


Art/Archaeology: Releasing the Archive and the Ineligible project

Doug Bailey

State University of San Francisco, USA | Universidade de São Francisco, EUA

This presentation describes the aims, objectives, and processes at the base of two of the installation series currently in exhibition at the MIEC: Releasing the Archive and Ineligible. Particular attention focuses on the ways that artists, archaeologists, and others are working in new, exciting, uncharted territories where art/archaeologists discard the standard requirements, expectations, and results of traditional archaeological work.

Esta apresentação descreve os alvos, objetivos e processos que estão na origem de duas das instalações em exibição no MIEC: Releasing the Archieve e Ineligible. O enfoque será a forma como os artistas, arqueólogos e outros se encontram a trabalhar em territórios novos, excitantes e desconhecidos, nos quais a arte/arqueologia descarta os requisitos, expectativas e resultados comuns do tradicional trabalho arqueológico.



Finding a foothold: strategies for creating with found objects

Dov Ganchrow

Bezalel Arts and Design Academy | Academia de Artes e Design de Bezalel, Israel

Many creative individuals make use of found objects when making something new; in design, in art, in craft and when improvising. A found object for this perspective will follow the definition of an object, usually man-made, and often purposely modified or manipulated in a way that elicits new meaning and reflection. Initiating a fresh creation when faced with a blank canvas or an everyday object can seem daunting if not outright intimidating. Where/how does one start? Strategies for overcoming this hurdle are often the focus on a specific characteristic of the found object such as material, structure, color, form, function, context, etc. This presentation will look at studio case-studies including the work done for Ineligible, to illustrate various points of entry when creating with found objects.

Muitos indivíduos criativos fazem uso de objetos encontrados quando produzem algo novo; no design, na arte, no artesanato ou na improvisação. Nesta perspetiva, um objeto encontrado seguirá a definição de um objeto, habitualmente feito pelo homem, e quase sempre propositadamente modificado ou manipulado de forma a incitar novo significado e reflexão. Iniciar uma nova criação quando confrontado com uma tela em branco ou um objeto do dia-a-dia pode ser assustador, senão mesmo completamente intimidatório. Onde/como começar? As estratégias para superar este obstáculo são frequentemente focar-se numa característica específica do objeto encontrado, tal como o material, a estrutura, a cor, a forma, a função, o contexto, etc. Esta apresentação terá o olhar direcionado para casos de estudo em estúdio, incluindo o trabalho feito para o Ineligible, de forma a ilustrar vários pontos de abordagem aquando da criação com objetos encontrados.



Contact paintings

Simon Callery

Indendent artist, UK | Artista Independente, Reino Unido

When Simon Callery works alongside archaeologists he wants the paintings he makes to be as direct a response as possible to the materiality of the site. Over the last few seasons working on Iron Age sites in Britain, Simon has been developing what he calls “contact paintings”. A strategy has evolved that all decisions and all actions necessary to make the painting are made on site and under the same conditions as the diggers. Simon would like to trace his path through photography, casting, studio-based painting, and drawing to this new way of working and the implications for contemporary landscape-based painting.

Quando Simon Callery trabalha em conjunto com arqueólogos, ele pretende que as suas pinturas sejam uma resposta o mais direta possível à materialidade do sítio. A trabalhar durante as últimas duas temporadas em sítios arqueológicos da Idade do Ferro na Grã-Bretanha, Simon tem vindo a desenvolver o que ele chama “pinturas de contacto”. Uma estratégia foi desenvolvida para que todas as decisões e todas as ações necessárias para a realização das pinturas sejam levadas a cabo no sítio e nas mesmas condições dos arqueólogos em escavação. Simon gostaria de traçar o seu caminho através da fotografia, da moldagem, da pintura em estúdio, e desenho nesta nova forma de trabalhar e as suas implicações na pintura contemporânea de paisagem.



We don’t break through the surface

Patrik Elgström and Jenny Magnusson

Independent artists, Sweden | Artistas Independentes, Suécia

Patrik Elgström and Jenny Magnusson discuss their contribution to Ineligible. They took the project “assignment” by handling and treating the assemblage they were given as if it were a plain box. They have not yet opened the assemblage; instead, they will use it as a surface for projections of their thoughts and ideas. How long is it possible to hold back the desire to open this box of archaeological artifacts? In a series of actions, Patrik and Jenny glue up images of the box in relation to architecture and on-going gentrification, in order to reread the urban space. By doing so, “they don’t break the surface.”

Patrik Elgström e Jenny Magnusson discutem a sua contribuição para Ineligible. Eles assumiram a “tarefa” manipulando e tratando o conjunto que receberam como se fosse uma caixa simples. Eles ainda não abriram a embalagem; em vez disso, usaram-na como superfície para projeções dos seus pensamentos e ideias. Quanto tempo é possível conter o desejo de abrir esta caixa de artefactos arqueológicos? Numa série de ações, Patrik e Jenny colam imagens da caixa em relação à arquitetura e à gentrificação em curso, com o objetivo de reler o espaço urbano. Ao fazer isso, “eles não irrompem a superfície”.



Collaborative bodies in the (un)making

Suvi Tuominen

University of the Arts Helsinki, Finland | Universidade de Artes de Helsínquia, Finlândia

The presentation discusses my durational live performance Audactiv and looks deeper into the (un)making of carnal, archaeological, and other material bodies. The performance explores how bodies co-create a live collage, and actively seeks ways to evoke the imagination of the spectators who encounter the piece. In this way, the performance challenges the conception of archaeological bodies (both human and inanimate) as static traces or representations of a lived past.

A apresentação discute a minha performance ao vivo Audactiv e analisa profundamente o (des)fazer de corpos carnais, arqueológicos e outros corpos materiais. A performance explora a forma como os corpos co-criam uma colagem ao vivo, e ativamente procura modos de evocar a imaginação dos espectadores que se deparam com a peça. Desta forma, a performance desafia o conceito de corpos arqueológicos (ambos humano e inanimado) como traços estáticos ou representações de um passado vivido.



Homelessness in the Living Room

Jana Sophia Nolle

Independent artist, USA/Germany | Artista Independente, EUA, Alemanha

How much is one’s home, whether a house or a tent, the determining factor for selecting one’s social group? What kind of materials would one gather to build a temporary home on the sidewalk if one ended up unhoused? The German visual artist, Jana Sophia Nolle, will address these and other questions as part of her presentation. Her art practice reflects a fascination with social change, inequality, and individuals caught up in sociopolitical transitions. Her most recent projects (Living Room, San Francisco, 2017/2018 and Shelter Nr. 365, 2019) focus on issues such as housing shortages, gentrification, and homelessness. Nolle will provide an overview about her work and methods.

Quão determinante é o lar de alguém, quer seja uma casa ou uma tenda, como fator de seleção do seu grupo social? Que tipo de materiais poderia alguém recolher para construir um lar temporário na berma da estrada se ficasse sem casa? A artista visual alemã, Jana Sophia Nolle, irá abordar essa e outras questões na sua apresentação. A sua prática artística reflete o fascínio com a mudança social, a desigualdade, e indivíduos que se encontrem em transições sociopolíticas. Os seus mais recentes projetos (Living Room, São Francisco, 2017/2018 e Shelter Nr. 365, 2019) focam-se em problemáticas como falta de habitação, gentrificação e sem-abrigo. Nolle irá providenciar uma visão geral acerca do seu trabalho e dos seus métodos.



On the aesthetic in art/archaeology

Marko Marila

University of Helsinki, Finland | Universidade de Helsínquia, Finlândia

This talk pertains to Marko Marila and Tony Sikström’s Ineligible exhibition piece The Hum and explores the aesthetic in the context of an art/archaeology. The concept of transduction is used to refer to an onto-epistemo-aesthetic process of pluralized interpretation in light of which art/archaeological objects are both representations and translations of the materials and processes which they repurpose. An aesthetic process on the one hand, transduction also pertains to the process of knowledge production and the role and relevance of uncertainty and speculation as valuable qualities of that process.

Esta apresentação diz respeito a The Hum, peça de Marko Marila e Tony Sikström, e explora a estética no contexto da arte/arqueologia. O conceito de transdução é usado para referir a um processo sobre-epistemo-estético de interpretações pluralizadas à luz das quais os objetos de arte/arqueologia são ambos representações e traduções dos materiais e processos que estes redirecionam. Um processo estético, por um lado, a transdução também se refere ao processo de produção de conhecimento e ao papel e relevância da incerteza e especulação como qualidades valiosas desse processo.


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